Bright red with madder

We have gotten questions about how we manage to get such bright red color with madder on wool. We thought we would should share the recipe that works for us.

100%! We use as much madder as the weight of the goods we dyes. If we dye 100g of goods (goods = yarn or fabric) then we use 100g of madder.
In order to get a good color, you need to plan your dyeing.

1. Good madder-  buy madder that is powdered. It simply gives more colour than the cut root pieces. There will be a lot to clean up, but it’s SOOO worth it.

2. Soak the madder in lukewarm water. A minimum is 24h. If possible, let your madder soak for 3 days. It can go moldy but this does not affect the color. However, be careful not to inhale the mold spores. Soaking over time can start a fermentation and then the colour will get a more cold red tone and pull more towards the blue direction. Do not filter  off the bath, keep everything in the dye bath. Also add one beer to the soaking bath. If you like you can also have a beer to drink. 

3. Mordant. We use only alum as a mordant. 30% of the weight of the goods. Pre mordanting is the thing, don’t put dyestuff and mordant in the same bath, this will dull the colour.

The dyeing
1. Insert the soaked madder solution and your gods into the dye bath. Heat slowly up to 68-69 degrees. Maintain this temperature for at least 2-3 hours. Stir frequently. The madder powder sinks to the bottom of the tub! It will also get stucked in “pockets” in your fabric.

2. Let the goods cool down in the bath, preferably overnight- but watch out for pockets!! 

3. Take up the goods. Shake out excessive madder back into the dye bath.

4. Allow the goods to dry before washing.

5. Shake the dried goods to get rid of your madder powder. We usually do this over a big plastic sheet. Preferably outdoors! Make sure to cover your mouth and nose. It’s dusty!! The madder is put back in the dye bath.

6. Rinse the gods until the rinsing water is clear. 

Use the dye bath for the after bath. You can dye as long as you think it gives color. A lightly dyed fabric and be over dyed with a fresh madder bath, starting with a apricot dyed fabric, instead of a white, will give you a stronger red.

Happy dyeing!! 
/ Amica and Maria

 

Advent calendar December 24 2019

Today, 24th of December, we celebrate Christmas ( Jul) in Sweden.
That means this is the last calendar post. We hope that you have enjoyed this years calendar and that you have seen things that you haven’t seen before.

Todays post is a Swedish embroidery. Wool on linen. Dated mid 15th century.

We have analysed the embroidery and a full report will come soon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year!
/ Amica and Maria

Photo: Historical Textiles- please cred if sharing.

Advent calendar December 22 2019

It’s too late and I have been driving 450km. So I’m to tired to update something useful.

Here goes a random collection of things.

Spindel tops in metal. And whorls. Athen, Greece. Dated medieval. 10-15th century

Lucet in bone/ horn. National museum Copenhagen, Denmark. Dated “medieval 13-16th”

Net shuttle from Lödöse. Dated 13-15th century

Shears for cutting the nap after fulling fabric. Dated 1850-ish. 9year (132cm ) old for reference . Sundsvall Museum,

/ Maria- tired

Advent calendar December 21 2019

Today we travel to the north of Sweden. All the way up to Resele church in Ångermanland. The medieval church was demolished 1841 when the new church was built. Today’s textile is an antependium from the old church.

It’s a wool weave and it has got one warp system and two weft systems.
The birds are a common motif during the later part of the Middle ages and the antependium is dated 1350-1500, it is dated by style.

The textile is part of the collection at Historiska Museet in Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 20 2019

The Fogdö embroidery is made with long armed cross stitches. It’s dated to early 16th century.

St George is often depicted in late medieval art. Here we can see George with a lovely jousting shield fighting the dragon with a very long sword… The embroidery is very well preserved, but on some places you can see that the wool yarn have worn off and the tabby linen weave is exposed.
Today it is found in the collections of Historiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing 

Advent calendar December 17 2019

Some metals are better then other in combination with textiles.
Iron tend to rust and this piece have today some rust “blobs” and rusty rings on the fabric. Originally it was rings sewn on to a velvet fabric. Most likely lacing rings on a doublet. The rings were sewn on with double white linen thread.

The piece comes from Italy and is dated 1470-1540. Read more about the finds from this collection here on our blog. Use the search word Italy and you will find more finds from the same collection.

/ Amica and Maria
Photos: Historical Textiles – cred if you share!

Advent calendar December 16 2019

Spindle whorls are often found in archeological excavations. The once found in medieval contexts are often made of bone, stone, metal or ceramic. In most of the cases the spindel stick is gone. Why? One thought is that a broken stick have a secondary value as fire wood. And that it’s difficult to mend a stick. And quite easy to make a new one.

What about spindel whorls made of wood? It’s a lot easier to cut a disc from a piece of wood then to make one in all materials mentioned above. Stone takes time to work with, and demands tools that can take some beating. Metal whorls was most likely made by craftsmen in a guild. Bone needs a saw, a tool that not all persons had. Ceramic needs a kiln.

We find few or no whorls made in wood. And when a wooden disc is found- can we be sure that it is a whorl without the spindle stick?

Anyhow- in the Gothem church on Gotland, Sweden, some items was found under the 13th century floorboards. A broken disc and something that really look like a distaff. Is the disc a whorl? We don’t know. What do you say?